With all of the “doom and gloom” of corona virus (COVID19) in the news these days, I have been spending some time thinking about how we might be able to continue the great work that we do in our classrooms in the (unlikely) event that St. A should have to close temporarily.
Enter the wonderful world of Google for the classroom! Google Classroom is a powerful platform for posting assignments, turning in work, managing grades, and showing demonstrative vlogs. Middle school already uses Google Classroom extensively with great success. Google Hangout is a skype-like platform in which up to 25 participants can log into a video call together and see shared powerpoints (Google Slides) or lecture notes (Google Docs) in a real time class experience. For collaboration, students can all link into any documents/slideshows/spreadsheets and work together on assignments or projects, presenting them through Hangouts to the rest of the class. Tests and exams can even be proctored through Google screen sharing apps!
Thanks to our recent “demo day” of professional development, teachers have been introduced to Kahoot! and Gimkit, as well as many other cloud-based learning games and activities that can be assigned for homework or in real time as part of a class gathering.
I can imagine a virtual school day where students join their different classes at different times in the day – much like we do in our Malone Classes – and work together through cloud based platforms to learn new information and produce amazing computer assisted projects, all from the comfort of home. While it would fundamentally change how we interact with our students, virtual school wouldn’t have to change our expectations for excellence.